Summer Experience: Elizabeth Pruitt ’24L Elizabeth Pruitt spent her summer working at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Fort Worth, TX.
Elizabeth Pruitt ’24L is a second-year law student at Washington and Lee and is originally from Fort Worth, TX. She attended the University of Georgia for undergrad, double majoring in Economics and International Affairs and minoring in French. Elizabeth worked as an International Tax Consultant for Ernst & Young in Atlanta for 4 years before law school. In the W&L community, she serves as a Junior Articles Editor on the German Law Journal and a W&L Law Ambassador. After law school, she plans to move back to Texas to start her legal career in Dallas.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Fort Worth, TX, as a Student Honors Legal Trainee. I worked within the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, which is the Division responsible for investigating potential violations of securities laws.
How did you find/get this position?
I applied on USAJobs. Unlike most 1L jobs that opened in the 1L spring, this application was open on the USAJobs website in December of 1L fall, which is early in the 1L summer job application cycle. For students interested in government positions, I recommend going on USAJobs in fall of 1L year and save the jobs you are interested in so you can monitor the deadlines and receive updates.
Describe your work experience.
During my 10-week internship at the SEC in Fort Worth, I assisted attorneys in all sorts of matters pertaining to alleged violations of securities laws. For instance, I worked on an insider trading investigation, conducted legal research for a Ponzi scheme case, and took notes in interviews and meetings with defense counsel. In addition, I attended a court hearing where I watched an SEC attorney argue a motion to grant an injunction before a Federal District Court Judge. I was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in a cryptocurrency training hosted by the FBI.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
I further developed my legal research skills especially when I worked on cases within the SEC’s Trial Unit. I also refined my analytical skills when I worked on matters that involved analyzing financial documents, proxy statements, 10-Ks, annual report filings, and other relevant SEC disclosures. A new skill I gained from this experience was how to take quality notes, especially when multiple attorneys are talking at once. Lastly, I developed networking skills along with public speaking skills from this experience.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
Investigative work at the SEC is very fact intensive as opposed to rule-based – when you’re building your case, you live in the facts.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
I had the opportunity to meet SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce (appointed by President Trump) in person and to attend Zoom meetings with Chairman Gary Gensler (nominated by President Biden). Both Peirce and Gensler are brilliant people, and it was fascinating to hear them discuss hot topics such as crypto.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
Yes, absolutely. The SEC exposed me to the world of litigation and despite my business background, I am now interested in being a litigator (or pursuing an area of the law that is a hybrid of litigation and corporate/transactional law).
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I would like to take more classes related to SEC’s work in securities law such as criminal procedure, business associations, securities regulation, white-collar crime, insider trading, etc. Working at the SEC also gave me several ideas for my research paper for the German Law Journal. I also plan to participate in the Moot Court competition to work on my oral advocacy skills.
Outside of Law School
HIIT training, hiking, drinking beer and wine, finding the best burger in town
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